Playa de la Isla Taboga
Playa de la Isla Taboga
3.5
See what travellers are saying
  • GregandDiana
    Alexandria, Virginia26 contributions
    3.0 of 5 bubbles
    Visit but caution
    I’ve been visiting Taboga for over 30 years. I live in the Washington, D.C. area but my family spends a lot of time in Panama to “ get away” from things. The weekend ferry service from the Causeway is dependable. To cite a few other reviews, there really is not a lot to do if you don’t like the beach. Now, for history buffs, the second oldest Catholic Church in the Americas is on the island and worth a visit. The hiking trail up to cross at the top of the island is a tough hike and there is zero shade when doing so. But, for those of you in moderate shape, it’s worth the view. Now, the bad - the island has gotten far dirtier over the past 20 years. There is rubbish on the side of the Panama City facing shore and there is still a lot of sharp broken concrete and debris left over after the former taboga hotel was demolished. The water is nice and warm BUT watch out for the foamy brown stuff floating by the shoreline near the beaches on both sides of the main dock - it’s sewage from the island! That would shut down any monitored beach in the US. I have travelled to and worked in more than 60 countries over the years and I had thought that Taboga would be a great place to spend a week a year at to disconnect. However, the “brown slime” I mentioned above has changed by view for the negative. My recommendation is to take and early AM ferry to the island as you will get up close and personal with ships on their way to the Balboa entrance to the Panama Canal. Visit the church, hike up to the cross, grab a snack at one of the ocean facing hole on the wall restaurants. Admire the great ocean views. You will see a lot of visitors in the water but consider the source of the brown foamy gunk.
    Visited August 2023
    Travelled with family
    Written August 6, 2023
  • Adaure N
    2 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Lovely Local Beach
    This is a nice beach that's very close and accessible to the city. The ferry is convenient, on time, and very comfortable with beautiful views of the city/nature/the large ships as you head to Taboga. The island has a very relaxing beach with some rocks of course, kind stray dogs, and great food at the few restaurants there. Lovely beach day to break up the trip and VERY affordable. The church was also beautiful to visit.
    Visited November 2023
    Travelled with friends
    Written November 17, 2023
  • Thoughtfultraveller1
    Canada198 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Taboga Island Panama
    This is a nice spot if you are looking for a beach close to Panama City. Sadly, the beach is full of garbage. Some things to note: you can rent beach loungers for US$5 each and a big sun umbrella for US$7 for the day. Try to get your tickets for the ferry the day before. Arrive at least one hour before your scheduled time and be prepared to wait in line both coming and returning. The ferry takes about 45 minutes. Bring some small change as you need to pay .50 to use the bathroom. You can also shower for $1. There is food for sale and some souvenir stalls.
    Visited January 2024
    Travelled as a couple
    Written January 11, 2024
  • Geo89_12
    Romeoville, Illinois509 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Small Island but Nice Beach
    Very nice beach with chairs and umbrellas available for rent. Also some small shops and restaurants. My only complaint was the small charge to use the bathroom but I know that’s common practice in remote areas.
    Visited March 2024
    Travelled as a couple
    Written March 13, 2024
  • Herb L
    Panama City, Panama87 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Taboga
    Closest beach to Panama City. Quiet, on a small island, best to go Monday - Thursday. Must travel via ferry from Flanenco to get there, about a 30 minute ride. Great views, nice people. We enjoy being able to get away from the city for some rest and relaxation!
    Visited May 2024
    Travelled as a couple
    Written May 27, 2024
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as waiting time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

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3.5
3.5 of 5 bubbles376 reviews
Excellent
91
Very good
136
Average
90
Poor
33
Terrible
26

Roger P
St. Asaph, UK61 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2020 • Couples
We traveled by Barcos Calypso ferry. It takes an hour and departs at 8.30 am weekdays, more often at weekends. You must be at the dock one hour before departure and you must show ID to board the boat. A photocopy of your passport photo page is ok. The booking office is located at Balboa Yacht Club, Punta Culebra, Amador Causeway. Outside holidays you can probably buy a ticket on the same day as traveling. But we bought ours the day before, when visiting the adjacent Smithsonian Centro Natural. The beach on the right side of Taboga town (as seen coming into dock) is attractive, but much of it is covered at high tide.
Written February 27, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

J R
Kansas City, Missouri5 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2022
I was a little concerned after reading some of the newer reviews but decided to take my wife, 15 y/o and 12 y/o for a beach day while on vacation.

TL;DR: I'd recommend going for a beach day. Beaches and water were clean if you head right when exiting the pier. The beach on the left seemed less improved but I didn't see any sewage or trash. Food at Casa Taboga Restaurante was good and people on the island were friendly. Overall, the island is cute and worth a day trip.

Long Version: I booked in advance Taboga Express Fast Ferry for the Day Pass. You could probably save a few bucks by booking the ferry separate from the umbrella & chairs and lunch. But all we had to do was show up and meet a guide once we arrived. We left on the 8:00am ferry with the intention of hiking before beach and lunch. Our guide gave us a walking tour of the town and showed us where are reserved chairs and umbrellas were located.

As other folks have mentioned, the trail head is a little difficult to find but not impossible. Downloading the trail map from Alltrails helped and you can use it offline. We wore tennis shoes to the island and left our hiking shoes at our hotel which was a mistake. After 30 mins on the trail, we turned back as it got pretty slick. With the humidity, we were a sweaty mess.

Our guide recommended some bathrooms that were "cleaner than others" and they turned out to be perfectly acceptable. After changing, we stopped by a beach bar, also recommended by our guide, for pina coladas. They were strong and since the hollow out the pineapples, you get a small fruit snack. We switched to beers after the pina colada. Beers and soda (cans) were a buck and pina coladas were $7. The day was warm and humid, it is Panama after all, but the water was amazingly cool and clear. I could see my toes.

Since we had the Day Pass, we were met at the beach by another guide with a gator style ATV which took us to the restaurant for lunch. While it wouldn't have been a far walk, it was a nice touch to ride across the small beach town. The people at Casa Taboga Restaurante were friendly and the place was clean. It doesn't overlook the beach, but the food was really good and I'd highly recommend it. After lunch the little church was open and is worth the few minutes it takes to walk through.

We were pretty exhausted at that point and came back on the 2:30pm ferry. All told, it was a great Sunday. Taboga isn't a beach resort with pristine beaches. But if you want a day away from the canal and rainforest while in Panama, this is the place.
Written August 8, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Richard M
Phoenix, AZ453 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2021
Upon arrival, everyone is searched for such items as beer. Oddly, you can buy it on the island for about the same price as on the mainland, but "importing" it is not allowed. I don't recommend buying the package of the boat transportation, walking tour and lunch. You will see and learn just as much without a guide and you can pick your own place to have lunch. I do recommend somebody to drive you to the top of the mountain to the old bunker. Super 360 view.

The beaches are nice, but (being spoiled) the water was too cold in March to go beyond my knees. For most people, though, they were in the water.
Written March 7, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Kathleen H
Ormond Beach, FL141 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2021
Taboga Island and its beaches are an excellent day (or multi-day) trip from Panama City! My husband and I took the Express Fast Ferry from the Amador Causeway. Simple to book online and only took 30 min. to get to the island. Be aware that as of early July, 2021, the dock on Taboga was closed and you needed to take a small water taxi to land. It only took about 3 minutes and cost $0.50 per person, but it's a good thing to be aware of.

There are 2 main beaches: Playa Restinga (where you will arrive) and Playa Honda. We preferred the former since there were multiple swimming options, but the beaches are basically next to one another. You can see which one you prefer!

Between Playa Restinga and Playa Honda, there were lots of huts where you could get food or drinks. I definitely recommend the pina colada (in a pineapple) at the stand closest to the lifeguard tower and all the food at Pop's and Rose.

A word of caution, as another reviewer mentioned, you will have your bag(s) searched by military personnel when you arrive. They only looked into 1 pocket of my husband and my backpacks, but we heard from several people that they will confiscate any alcohol (etc.) that you bring with you.

If you are looking for more adventure and a better view, you can hike up to Cerro de la Cruz or the Bunker. Just ask any of the locals for directions.

So, if you want a change from the big city feel of Panama City, Isla Taboga is a great choice for relaxation or adventure!
Written July 19, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

KristinaB
Panama City, Panama20 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2021
Taboga is super easy from Panama City, just 30 minutes away it was fun to pass by all the big ships waiting to enter the canal. The island was just starting to open up again so mid week was very quiet however the weekend gave more options for food and people. The restaurants are simple surroundings who serve fish, coconuts, chicken and plantain. The beaches are good and clean. With lovely water to swim in. We were told the snorkelling was excellent although we didn't give it a try ourselves.

We would love to return to explore the island a little more and being so close to Panama its super easy even for just a day to nip across and breath a big sigh to drop into the island vibes.
Written August 4, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

GregandDiana
Alexandria, VA26 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2023 • Family
I’ve been visiting Taboga for over 30 years. I live in the Washington, D.C. area but my family spends a lot of time in Panama to “ get away” from things. The weekend ferry service from the Causeway is dependable. To cite a few other reviews, there really is not a lot to do if you don’t like the beach. Now, for history buffs, the second oldest Catholic Church in the Americas is on the island and worth a visit. The hiking trail up to cross at the top of the island is a tough hike and there is zero shade when doing so. But, for those of you in moderate shape, it’s worth the view.

Now, the bad - the island has gotten far dirtier over the past 20 years. There is rubbish on the side of the Panama City facing shore and there is still a lot of sharp broken concrete and debris left over after the former taboga hotel was demolished. The water is nice and warm BUT watch out for the foamy brown stuff floating by the shoreline near the beaches on both sides of the main dock - it’s sewage from the island! That would shut down any monitored beach in the US.

I have travelled to and worked in more than 60 countries over the years and I had thought that Taboga would be a great place to spend a week a year at to disconnect. However, the “brown slime” I mentioned above has changed by view for the negative.

My recommendation is to take and early AM ferry to the island as you will get up close and personal with ships on their way to the Balboa entrance to the Panama Canal. Visit the church, hike up to the cross, grab a snack at one of the ocean facing hole on the wall restaurants.

Admire the great ocean views. You will see a lot of visitors in the water but consider the source of the brown foamy gunk.
Written August 6, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Keras G
14 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2023
We took the Ferry from Panama City to Taboga Island. The price of the ferry (return) is USD 24 per person. In our opinion, Taboga Island is not worth a visit. For USD 24 per person, what you get is a dirty beach and over-priced food. The town is quite small and all we did was walked through the town and saw the church. Unfortunately the earliest return ferry was after three hours and so we just sat on a bench.
Written February 24, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Arsenikos
Athens, Greece131 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2022 • Solo
One can visit Taboga island from Panama City or with catamaran day cruise(more than 90$,without hotel transportation) or with the Taboga express ship(24$to go and come back)
The village of the island has no beauties or interesting places.The two beaches of the village don’t have clean water and are full of rubbishes and broken branches of trees.I didn’t visit the rest of the island,but if you are going to visit the village ,avoid it.Lost time and money.Visit San Blas islands.More time to spend,more expensive but there is no comparison
Written October 6, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Thoughtfultraveller1
Canada198 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2024 • Couples
This is a nice spot if you are looking for a beach close to Panama City. Sadly, the beach is full of garbage. Some things to note: you can rent beach loungers for US$5 each and a big sun umbrella for US$7 for the day. Try to get your tickets for the ferry the day before. Arrive at least one hour before your scheduled time and be prepared to wait in line both coming and returning. The ferry takes about 45 minutes. Bring some small change as you need to pay .50 to use the bathroom. You can also shower for $1. There is food for sale and some souvenir stalls.
Written January 11, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Denise30906
Temecula, CA84 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2023
A definite must while in Panama City. Don't get suckered into buying a "tour". Just take an Uber to the Amador Causeway and take the Taboga Island Express Ferry over. Once there you turn right, walk a very short distance and you're at the beach. You can rent 2 chairs and an umbrella for less than $20. There are places to buy food and drinks right there at the beach. It was a wonderful, relaxing day. WATER IS COLD haha. I got in to say I did but brrr.
Written March 6, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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Playa de la Isla Taboga - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (2024)

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